ZZ's '97 GTS- Single Turbo Build
Figured I would start a brand new thread to document the turbo build I will be going through this winter, and hopefully completing by spring.
If you are familiar with my last setup, I was Paxton supercharged for two years. Car made a little over 700whp and 760wtq. Car ran flawlessly and never had any issues or skipped a beat.
Here was my prior build:
I decided to change platforms for a couple of reasons:
1) Paxton Supercharger is hard on crank snouts. Especially if you are running small pulleys with manual tensioners (which I was) which just increases the risk.
2) I wanted to make more efficient power. Centrifugals have a lot of parasitic losses.
3) I am at the point in my hot rod hobby career that I want to keep progressing my car and skills. I was more or less "done" with the supercharger setup so I really had nothing to work on or look forward to in terms of progressing the car.
The main objective of this build is to perform a simple DIY turbo setup, similar to something you would see on sites like LS1tech, where they are a dime a dozen. There seems to be a huge shortage of this type of work on Vipers, and everyone who goes turbo goes full retard and does an over the top shop build with the best of everything, even if it will never be used.
When I decided to go turbo, I started looking for used setups because I didn't have the means to make my own.
As we all know, on Gen 2 vipers, you really only have 1 kit that could be considered "bolt on" and that is the RSI. Sometimes you can get lucky and buy someone else's used kits.
This spring, I put out a message on the forums asking if anyone had any used setups for sale. I shortly after got a message from Dirtysocks who had parted out his Viper a few years back, but kept the turbo kit in case he ever bought another Viper. It had been sitting on his shelf collecting dust for quite some time.
It was a single turbo kit, originally owned and built by 99turbo, who was the original creator/fabricator. To my knowledge, there have been 3 single turbo vipers in existence. Orlando's, Scotty's, and this kit. Orlando and Scotty's both placed the turbo on the rear passenger side behind the wheel well, which means you have to delete both the A/C and cabin heat and go full race car. Not ideal. This kit mounts the turbo in the front, in a very similar location as a supercharger, in between the radiator and accessory belt drive.
Here's what I received. Custom 106mm turbo with 1.10 AR, turbonetics wastegate, turbonetics BOV, full air to water intercooler setup with tank/pump for the trunk and all associated lines, fittings, etc, full hot side piping, intercooler piping, and charge pipe.
With this kit, plan was to "pretty it up", ie coat all the piping, re-wrap the headers and hotside, and run it as is.
The more I considered this, I realized the turbo was bigger than I needed for my goals/aspirations. When I bought this kit, I planned to build the engine this winter, and make big power, somewhere in the 1200-1300whp range. The turbo is fully capable of it and more and the original owner was making similar numbers on a stroker.
The more I sat around and thought, I came back to earth and realized by shooting for these power numbers, I would be doubling or tripling the cost of the build, all for power I really don't need and will rarely ever use. Sure it's fun to make big numbers, but I found even with a 700whp car, it's difficult to use on the street other than in rare situations or in Mexico a few times a year with buddies.
With my re-entry into the atmosphere and settling on a much lower power goal, I started looking into turbo options that would be a drop-in replacement, ie, a smaller T6 turbo that would spool quicker and be more fun on the street. I contacted Work Turbochargers in Alabama, gave them my goals, and had them give me some options. A few days later, I had a new turbo on my doorstep.
I went with a Borg Warner S430SX-4, 82mm Forged Milled Wheel, 96/88mm twin scroll turbine wheel, 1.32 A/R. This will provide me plenty of flow, and won't choke out until around 1200whp, which is more than enough headroom for me.
Comparison of new turbo to old:
I was planning to save some room by downsizing. Not really the case. It actually is larger side-to-side and front to back than the 106mm.
First step was to do a mockup and check the fitment of the turbo kit and manifolds as-is.
I had two blurry pictures of this kit installed around 8 years ago, so figuring out which pipe went where and attached to which v-band was like putting together a puzzle with no box to look at.
Passenger side fit with forward hot side.
Driver side assembled.
As you can see, the fiberglass wrap is old, and falling off due to coming loose and just from shipping and handling. Not really concerned with that at this point.
Also, this kit is setup for a Viper Gen 3 (2003-2006) intake in place of a Gen 2 intake. The design is superior from a flow standpoint, but the runners are shorter so you lose a little torque down low which is hardly a concern with a turbo 488ci V10.
With that being said, I picked up a Gen 3 intake from another forum member.
This is a relatively easy swap. Sometimes the bolt holes need massaging to fit but I got lucky and it bolted right up as-is.
Also needed a Gen 3 throttle body. Went with the BBK unit because it was basically the same price as an OEM unit.
Next step was to see if the new turbo would fit in the position set by the hotside T6 flange.
Yes, one uncoated piece of mild steel was used on the merge. I suspect this was re-worked at some point. Can't explain but that's why one piece has surface rust :)
Here's where the wheels fell off this project plan. The new turbo didn't fit.
At this point I realized for my new goals, there were a few things that could be improved:
1) The hotside routing could be more efficient. It wraps down around the frame rails before re-directing towards the front. This is extra exhaust volume that is unneeded and will cause turbo lag which is the last thing I want for this build. The current setup used the later gen 2 tubular manifolds with V-bands welded on. It works fine and fits fine, but could be better.
2) The hotside tubing is pretty large, which would support 2000+ horsepower. Not needed for me or this build and once again is more exhaust volume, which causes lag and extra time/space for the exhaust to cool down before hitting the turbo. The bigger issue with the big hotside is the tightness it creates in some of the fitment areas. With a smaller 2.25" hotside, which is all I need for my goals, I could eliminate some tight areas and reduce lag.
3) With the turbo not fitting, this meant this was no longer a bolt-on kit. I would need to, at a minimum, make a new merge, along with new exhaust, partial intercooler piping, etc for the new turbo to fit properly and to my satisfaction.
At this point of the build, I still planned to use the intake piping and intercooler setup so I pressed forward with seeing if it would fit.
The intercooler is an air/water with a trunk mounted reservoir. Actually a pretty slick setup where it sits in the front corner of the bumper, in place of the original overflow bottle for the surge tank.
Overflow bottle removed.
Not pictured but I had to cut a hole from my front bumper structure for the intercooler to go through.
At the same time, I had to make sure where I had it come through the bumper structure would line up with the charge pipe.
Not the prettiest charge pipe, but actually pretty well done from scratch. If used I will coat it wrinkle black to match everything else.
Now that I was deviating from the original bolt-on plan, I started to get more creative with how I could simplify and optimize the original setup.
Going back to the first issue, the inefficiency of the hotside piping, I decided to try and take a totally different path. The initial setup used the stock Gen 2 tubular manifolds, and then 180'ed around the frame rails, up, and forward to the merge.
I figured, why do a loop, and not do a log style manifold and shoot straight forward? After some research, I discovered 2.25" would be as small as I would want to go with the size of my engine and the power goals.
With my cad skills, I set forth designing a manifold to see what I could come up with and determine how hard it would be for a noob to fabricate.
Here's what I came up with based on some measurements:
Since I had zero fabrication equipment to make these yet, I figured I would waste some time 3D printing my design to see how it would fit before finalizing a plan. It was way too big and complex to print in one piece, so I broke it up.
Printed the flange in 3 pieces.
Main 2.25" tube in 4 pieces but 1 print:
printed the 1.75" primaries 1 at a time, and then 1.75" curve to cone adapter is 3 pieces:
All finished with the main portion:
Test fit: Success!
Flipped over on the driver's side. This side is a little more tricky with the power steering reservoir.
I probably should have added, the 4th small issue I had with the original design was the fact that a large frame turbo was being held by nothing but the hotside piping from what I could tell. The original turbo, and the new one, has to weigh 70ish lbs. It's extremely heavy.
I do not feel comfortable hanging the turbo from the manifolds and T6 flange. Therefore, while I was in the 3D printing mood, I decided to print up a makeshift bracket to help hold the turbo in place while I do mock-up.
My new turbo has v-bands so I could not use the bolted flange for a mount. I resorted to making something quickly on the drain flange. I have an idea long-term how I'm going to do this permanently and still get around the AN fitting.
There is no frame rail or section nearby the turbo, and the only thing immediately below is the anti-sway bar.
First one I made ended up being too tall, and I guessed on the diameter of the sway bar. I need the turbo to sit as low as possible so I have room for the merge and charge pipe above but still below the hood.
Second attempt. Much better.
Testing turbo positions.
I can't even explain to you how many times I have gone into the garage and just stared into the engine bay trying to wrap my head around what will be the cleanest layout with the least amount of complexity/bends and lowest space claim. There is just no getting around the fact this is a large turbo in a small area.
One thing is for sure. I originally ordered the turbo with a 5" exhaust outlet. I certainly do not need it. 4" would be plenty. The more I stare into the engine bay, the more I realize I should have gone 4" for packaging. With that being said, I am sending the turbo back to be machined down to 4".
Awesome write up!
In preparation for the rest of this build, I have started to compile tools since I can't go much further until I learn how to fab this stuff myself.
Picked up a band saw table to adapt my hand-held deep throat band saw to a vertical setup. Also picked up a tube notcher to be able to easily create the notches for the log manifolds.
Also picked up an entry level TIG welder from Miller, the Diversion 180. Should work fine for what I will be doing.
Spent the last week ordering tungsten, glass lens cups, filler wire, tubing, weld cart, and an 80 cu ft argon bottle.
In addition to the turbo, I will be making some other upgrades to go along with this build and support the extra power so I can put it down on the street.
Updates made previously that will stay from supercharger build:
Carry Over Parts
In tank dual pump basket
-8 supply with regulator and -6 return to tank, all PTFE with steel braiding
T&D 1.7 roller rockers
Roe Racing stiffer valve springs
new OEM valve seals,
3/8" Trick Flow pushrods
Mcleod Miba Twin Disc Clutch (handles up to 1500whp)
Unitrax 1000hp Half-shafts with new u-joints
Woodhouse Poly Motor Mounts
Woodhouse Poly Trans Mount
17" CCW wheels with M&H drag radials (rear only)
Injector Dynamics ID1000
Dual Walbro 450's (for E85)
RSI Gen 3 fuel rails
RSI spark plug wires (with heat shields)
AEM V1 Standalone
(Possibly MS3 if my friend can get it to work but already have the AEM as a backup in case it doesn't go well)
I pretty much have all the parts I need stockpiled at this point. Just need to install of them.
Here's a shot of the drag wheels. I'm going to have the center sections powdercoated gunmetal to match the front wheels.
Looks great so far! Did you get rid of the blower yet?
Helluva cool project to tackle and it looks like you're doing just fine! Those printed manifolds are just plain SICK. I may hit you up to borrow them for some mockup in the future.
And thanks for using Work Turbochargers for your turbo needs... Reed is a good guy with a wealth of turbo knowledge.
I love build threads.
Awesome. I love to read these build threads
Very Nice! Those headers are something like Paolo's old manifolds. The one complaint with his design was that it was difficult to remove the plugs and wires melted easily from the heat. It appears that you have plenty of room between the plugs and tubing, but if not keep that in mind. Take a look at the spacing in mine if that helps any, I do not have any issues with with plug wires and am using the heat shields like yourself.
I believe Joel Fortin is using a set of those on his new setup. Maybe look at that for some routing ideas.
Remember if it's spaced too far out, I have seen it melt the inner fenders and blower motor intake housing due to the heat.
Looking forward to seeing it come together.
This is awesome.
I actually bought my Intake and AEM V1 from Joel. His build is incredible. I'll have to check his build thread and see if I can find some pictures.
As others have noted, I enjoy reading build threads since I'm not skilled enough to do my own.
I don't know the angle of those pictured. I want to say those are from Doc1's car (member here on the alley). He has a front mount setup as well. As far as mine goes, Here's some pics, they are a strait 90 to the flange. I didn't have to wrap mine at all, but that may be a good idea for what your trying to do and give you general idea of the spacing.
I currently run livewires, they have held up very well over the years. I did buy a set of the RSI wires, but have not put them on yet.
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